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Between Palestinian succession and Hamas, Fatah crisis deepens in West Bank

Factions of the embattled party are maneuvering for greater influence even while longtime president Mahmoud Abbas remains in power.
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (R) is helped with the headphones at the start of a joint press conference with Germany's Chancellor at the Chancellery in Berlin on August 16, 2022. (Photo by JENS SCHLUETER / AFP) (Photo by JENS SCHLUETER/AFP via Getty Images)

The recent public statement by senior Fatah official Mahmoud Alloul about the decline of his movement might be surprising but it reflects the deterioration that has been going on for some time.

Ever since the pro-Fatah lists were trounced by the pro-Hamas list in the 2006 parliamentary elections, Fatah’s popularity has been declining, according to polling and actual votes in municipal and university student council elections.

However, the mainstream Fatah movement is still the only game in town for the time being, especially with no prospects of a political movement on the Palestinian-Israeli track before the 2024 US elections, and with the presence of the current Israeli far right coalition increasing the strain on the Palestinians. 

Fatah’s main rival today is the Fatah reformist movement, supported and (importantly) funded by ex-Fatah security chief living in the UAE Mohammad Dahlan, which has been making political strides throughout Jerusalem, the rest of the West Bank, and Gaza.

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